Identification of tetanus bacteria was 'by chance' in the labour ward of Gandhi Hospital
Are the government hospitals in Hyderabad equipped to prevent hospital infections? Was it sheer luck or was it the result of a systematic surveillance strategy that identified tetanus bacteria in the labour ward of Gandhi Hospital? Doctors accept that it was ‘chance’ that led to the identification of tetanus bacteria.
Many assert that government hospitals have done little to evoke a measure of confidence on their preparedness to avoid hospital infections. Government hospitals lack technical know-how to achieve minimum essential standards in hospital infection control practices.
Government hospitals lag in taking basic precautions on injection safety, washing hands, controlling the number of visitors, having infection control policies, disinfection, sterilisation procedures and safety of health care workers. The staff of the hospital is simply not technically trained in infection control practices.
“There is no separate body to regulate viral and bacterial surveillance in government hospitals. Teams from National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH) conduct independent surprise checks in NABH accredited hospitals. But, government hospitals have not managed to get NABH certificates,” doctors point out.
Many, however, point out that respective microbiology department of various hospitals conduct frequent surveillance in operation theatres, labour rooms and ICUs.
“At any given time, we have close to 1,000 pregnant women in our hospital. So, bacterial and viral surveillance is vital. Regular samples are collected from walls, furniture and other equipment for culture,” says a senior doctor from Niloufer Hospital.
Doctors point towards the importance of basic hygiene in hospitals.
“Limiting number of visitors and washing hands by the health care providers is important to prevent hospital acquired infections. Hospital bacteria tend to be more resistive and that’s why staff has to be doubly careful. Routine surveillance for infections has to be done,” suggests Dr. Sunita Nareddy, Consultant, Infectious Medicine, Apollo Hospitals.
Many also suggest equipping government hospitals properly to fight infections. Air filtration systems to drive away infectious microbes, mandatory use of breakable syringes, frequent replacement of plastic and glass bottles, which are common carriers of bacteria and virus, should be take up at Government hospitals.
“Patients and visitors at government hospitals should be made aware about the importance of taking precautions to avoid infections. Not a single government hospital in the capital has proper air-filtration systems in place,” doctors regret.